Britain confirms that it will not extradite Assange to a country that uses the death penalty

Apr 16, 2019

The British government released three letters Monday confirming an agreement with Ecuador that Julian Assange will not be extradited to a country where he might face the death penalty. Critics of President Lenin Moreno last week questioned whether such an agreement existed, claiming Ecuador had not offered proof.

Julian Assange

Britain’s assurance comes following an extradition request from the U.S. government which wants to put Assange on trial for espionage. The U.S. legal system allows the death penalty.

In a letter dated April 3, the British ambassador wrote that judges in the UK are prohibited from ordering an extradition of a suspect to a country a country where the death penalty is employed. “Britain is a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment, including the death penalty,” the letter said. “We reaffirm our original agreement with the government of Ecuador that we will abide by this convention.”

In another letter released yesterday, Boris Johnson, former minister UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, also guaranteed that Assange would not be put at risk of the death penalty. “I can confirm that according to the legislation of the United Kingdom, the extradition of a person cannot be ordered to a country where the death penalty can be carried out.” Johnson’s letter was dated March 7, 2018.

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A third letter, from Jeremy Hunt, who replaced Johnson in the foreign ministry post, reaffirmed Johnson’s position.

Following the release of the letters, Ecuador’s communication office said it was “pleased to but death penalty issue in the Assange case to rest.”

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